Overpriced, Overdone but Beautiful

So what am I talking about with a post title like that?

The United Kingdom actually.

I left the UK in 1992 and emigrated to Texas where I spent a good 17-years before returning to Europe and settling in the Czech Republic. Periodically, of course, I get to go back on business or a for a family visit.

Over priced – The UK is expensive. How do people there manage? So far as I can tell, salaries have gone up incredibly since I left but despite the fact that people seem to earn what I would have thought of as ‘silly money’ back in 1992, prices appear to have risen even faster! Being in the West Midlands this last week, I paid over four pounds for a pint, had toast, eggs and a coffee breakfast for 15 pounds and all I can say is thank God I gave up smoking last year! Meanwhile, I was told that some remarkably ordinary looking homes were fetching 600,000 pounds and that people at getting mortgages of 10-12 times their income…. a recipe for total disaster. So, yes, over priced and by a long way too. By comparison to other parts of Europe, the UK is simply incredibly expensive.

Overdone? – too crowded, too full of people, too many cars, airports too small. The UK is full to overflowing and I fear it will eventually sink (south east first) under the weight of that steaming mass of humanity. The result is stress, aggravation and very rude people….

But something must be going right because I passed home after home in Birmingham that must have cost 500,000 GBP or more with 2-3 cars (BMW’s and such) parked all over their front yards. Somebody is doing well.

No, you can keep the UK. I don’t much miss it if I am honest except for the football, the beer, nice little country pubs, English gardens, Yorkshire, the west cost of Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, Fish n Chips, Pork pies – pies in general actually, sticky puddings, treacle pudding, shepherd’s pie,the east cost of Yorkshire, York, the moors, the history, little English villages,small churches…. Well maybe I do!

Englands-green-and-pleasant-land

Coming back its the greenness that always amazes me. From the plane it simply is a brighter, richer, deeper shade of green. Its a beautiful country.

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Given that, I should visit more often but live there? I could not afford it.

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London and the Brits – Observations

I had a quick trip to London this week and I have decided that London is almost unrecognizable to me these days. So much development work and a real shift in eating habits over the last 20-years means that I really am lost there.

I started my career as a Geologist with BP and after moving down from Aberdeen and a spell at the BP Research Center, I was moved to Britannic House – the tower block on the edge of the City of London. Being in the City, I retraced my steps from the Bank tube station as I would have walked to work some 20+ years ago and not only did I recognize very little but I couldn’t find Britannic House at all! I came home thinking it must have been demolished. A little bit of research this morning shows it was redeveloped and is now called CityPoint. No wonder I couldn’t find it as it looks nothing like the building I worked in. In fact, that whole area around the Barbican is a mess of new office blocks and is completely changed.

The Britannic House I recall.

The Britannic House I recall.

Back when I was working in and around the City (London Bridge, Shaftesbury Avenue included) lunch was a sandwich usually made as you waited in a small newsagents or similar. These days it seems to be all sushi and bento box, Pret a Manger and noodle and soup places. If you want a sandwich its Tesco’s or M&S. Coffee shops abound too. It’s rather nice actually to have a great choice of good food at reasonable prices.

CityPoint...

CityPoint…

In fact, London is a nice city. It has been dramatically improved over the years and while I know folk think Prague a nice place, its got nothing on London! Prague is smaller, less busy and easier to get around but if you want the big city – London has everything including history, architecture, excellent entertainment and dining…..

I’d almost move back except that, I’m sorry to say it but its true, the Brits have to be the whiniest people on the planet. Constantly moaning and complaining about everything from the weather to the Government. I think it comes from watching British TV as it seems to me that British news and documentaries are a constant stream of things you should be moaning about. It has become a real British cultural thing to moan about everything – very noticeable to an outsider or visitor. Maybe it was always that way and its me that’s changed having lived overseas these last 23-years…..

Who is Lisa Ann?

I must confess to having read a story on one of the newspaper sites about the browsing stats published by a pornographic outlet called Pornhub. Apparently, the average Brit visits this site for just under 10 minutes a day if I understood it correctly which is just behind the US but significantly more than much of the rest of the world. Most revealing was the fact that a small town called Ware wins the award for most compulsive pornography viewing town in the UK. I have vaguely heard of Ware but that’s about it. Actually, the data, if you can stomach it, is pretty revealing. Apparently, what does for an American isn’t a Brit’s cup of tea and there appears to be a good deal of nationalism when it comes to search terms for porn! For example, ‘British’ is the top search term in England apparently.

There were one or two other surprises for me in this story. First, I have never heard of Pornhub – possibly we can all agree that’s a good thing but, even worse. is that for most British searchers on the site, the most popular search term is ‘Lisa Ann’. Really? Who the hell is Lisa Ann? Never heard of her either! Which I think really goes to show how celebrity status is so often a local thing and these people are more or less unknown elsewhere.

Not Lisa Ann - not even related to this story but a strange pic don't you think?

Not Lisa Ann – not even related to this story but a strange pic don’t you think?

To make my point, who out there has heard of Karel Gott or Lucia Bila? Or, for that matter, Gabriela Partysova or Leos Mares? These are quite to very well known Czech celebrities who routinely, along with others, grace the covers and pages of the tittle tattle rags here. It always amazes me and my family when I am back in the UK for a visit and they are talking avidly about some celeb that I have never heard of. They look at me as if to say – How is that possible? Well, I guess celebrity, or notoriety (in the case of porn), is mostly a local thing.

I did do a little research on this Lisa Ann by the way as you might expect me to do in the interests of ensuring I am up to speed. Unimpressed. You stay at home Brits can keep her.

I Don’t Believe You!

I went to CNN briefly this morning, glanced at the headlines and suddenly realized something. I don’t believe the stuff you write CNN or BBC or any of the other mainstream and controlled outlets. I don’t believe you Mr. Cameron, Mr. Clegg, Mr. Milliband, Mr. Obama. I don’t believe a word you all say. This is a sad development because there was a time that I did.

What is published on CNN and BBC isn’t news. Its opinion. It’s spoon feeding the masses what someone wants them to believe. It doesn’t matter much what the story is it will have an angle. Its insidious and its increasingly obvious. Truth be told – and I am shocked by this myself – I would believe the Russian news service before I believed the western media. If they aren’t creating doom, gloom and fear then they are reporting on the ridiculous – celebrity nonsense. Anything to keep us all docile.

lie

The politicians are the same. There is no substance, no worthwhile research (except what might make them popular at the polls), no real expertise among this group of 40 something idiots. Strong word isn’t it ‘Idiot’ but unless they can prove to me otherwise, that is exactly what they are – selfish, grabbing, look at me, idiots. I don’t care what the label says in terms of political party – Labour, Democrat, Tory, Republican – is there actually a difference? There used to be but not anymore. It’s all about maximizing their personal wealth while taking short-term nonsensical decisions.

politicians

Nope. I don’t believe any of you and none of you have the answers anymore. It’s a corrupt system full of puppets reassuring us all they know what they are doing. They haven’t a clue and it shows.

The answer to all of this is that we must all think harder about what we are being told. We must act on our instincts and feelings – our intuition if you will. We must be active. We must create our own reality by visualizing it and acting it out. I don’t mean violence. I mean knowing ourselves, taking and accepting responsibility for ourselves and doing or not doing as the case may be.

We must be vocal. We must say – not shout – what we think. We must speak our minds via the channels we have at our disposal – social media. We should ignore the BBC and CNN and The Daily Mail etc. and we shouldn’t encourage the politicians – let’s all stay home on polling day, if you are a member of a party then let it lapse and don’t show them any interest – it just encourages them.

Disinterest and action to do the right thing. This is how we should create a new reality. It’s time to let these institutions and people know – its over. We decided to end your attempts to control us and now we are taking responsibility. accepting the responsibility to create the kind of world we want.

Reading the News

Whenever I return to the UK and listen to the news on TV I am always forced to conclude that newsreaders there must go to some special school of news reading. I’ve seen the news on TV in many many countries now but the UK is unique and fairly strange. I know people living there don’t notice but it is something to do with vocal inflection. The newsreaders’ vocal inflection is simply all wrong and they always go down at the end of a sentence. It drives me nuts. It makes them sound as if they were afflicted with some strange mental disease from my perspective. It sounds condescending too if I am honest. As if, these superior news readers know something I don’t. I always notice this on every visit.

As if not sounding right might be enough, is it just me that wonders where on earth they get UK newsreaders? Particularly on the breakfast shows, I think the news readers are pretty strange looking people with strange facial mannerisms. I have never observed such eyebrow movement in all my living days and if there where an eyebrow olympics, GB would have a team! The women often look like they forgot to tidy up before coming on TV too with strangely untidy hair.

In the US, news anchors are heavyweight folks with serious expressions and hollywood actor looks. In the Czech Reupublic, they are ex-models, all blonde, cleavage and horizontal kilometer wide smiles. In the UK, they look like people you wouldn’t want to bump into on a dark night. Weird.

Just sayin’